It is not unusual for people waiting to get or renew their driver's licenses at the Minnehaha County building to wait as long as three hours. To make it more convenient, state officials decided to add two more hours, which kept it open until 7 p.m. during the week. One would have thought the bigger time frame would have been a big hit. Unfortunately, because of low turnout, the two extra hours were cut almost as soon as they were created.
It is just a quick click of a camera, and you have a new driver's license. However, with all of the paperwork and what can seem like a miles-long line, getting to the end point is not exactly a photo finish.
"Today it's okay because it's not a long wait. (I've waited for) probably 45 minutes," Dawn Hvam said.
That is a big difference from the two and half hours Hvam spent in the county building hallway the last time she renewed her license.
"I think if you were up there today, you saw there is still a lot of people up there," County Commission Department Head Ken McFarland said. "A lot of people in the hallway. I bet if you asked them if they would take advantage of the extended hours they'd say, 'Absolutely.'"
Without hesitation, Hvam said she would have definitely taken advantage of the extended hours. McFarland said Hvam might be the only one because nobody else was showing up. About two weeks ago the office went back to its regular hours, closing the place down at 5 p.m. The extended hours began in July, and McFarland thinks they were well-advertised. The county even added security staff and kept its doors open later.
"You would see a dramatic curl, curling off of the people waiting in line just before five and nobody came in to fill in," McFarland.
Hvam runs a day care and says those extended hours would have come in handy. Not knowing how long she would be sitting in this chair, she had to take the whole day off from work.
"I'm sure it's very annoying for my parents," Hvam said.
McFarland understands that frustration, and does not think people should complain if they have a long wait during the day.
"It's kind of funny what people do want and you do try to make the accommodation. You are always just surprised when it doesn't meet your expectations," McFarland said.
Public Safety officials weighed in on the extended hours, by saying they continued,"to stay open as long as there were customers," to use the extended hours.